Boston Celtics (2-3) at Chicago Bulls (5-1)
Saturday, November 8, 2014
8:00 PM ET
Game #6, Road Game #3
TV: CSNNE, WGN, NBA-LP 758(DTV)/757(Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, ESPN 1000AM
Referees: John Goble, Curtis Blair, Brian Forte
Fresh off a victory over the injury plagued Pacers, the Celtics travel to Chicago to take on the very tough Chicago Bulls. Both teams are playing in the second of back to back games and having to travel overnight. The Bulls played on Friday in Philadelophia, coming away with a 118-115 win. The Bulls are playing in their 4th game in 5 nights. The Bulls won all three games without their all star point guard last season. He hasn't faced the Celtics since the 2012 season.
The Celtics lost their talented rookie Marcus Smart in Friday's game and so other players will need to step up in this one to fill in for him. The Celtics will also be without their All Star point guard as Rajon Rondo underwent a procedure this morning to remove a screw from his surgically repaired wrist. He is expected to be ready to go for Wednesday's game vs OKC.
With Rondo and Marcus Smart both out, Brad Stevens may go back to a lineup that we saw in the preseason with Bradley and Turner in the back court sharing ball handling duties. That would keep Phil Pressey coming off the bench as a sparkplug to run the second unit. Or, he could start Pressey and allow Turner to handle the ball on the second unit.
PG: Avery Bradley ................................................SG: Evan Turner
C: Kelly Olynyk
SF: Jeff Green ................................. ............PF Jared Sullinger
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Marcus Smart (ankle) out
Rajon Rondo (hand) out
PG: Kirk Hinrich ............................................. SG: Jimmy Butler
C: Joakim Noah
SF: Mike Dunleavy ............................................. PF: Paul Gasol
Derrick Rose (ankle) game time decision
Aaron Brooks (ankle) day to day
Jared Sullinger & Kelly Olynyk vs Pau Gasol & Joakim Noah
The Bulls have one of the tougher front courts to match up with. Gasol and Noah are both long and very talented. Sullinger and Olynyk will have their hands full trying to contain the Bulls big men and will have a tough time getting open shots with Gasol and Noah draped all over them.
Keys to the Game
Defense - The Bulls are a high scoring team, averaging 104.8 points per game. The Celtics defense has left much to be desired, allowing a whopping 107 points per game. On the other hand, as you would expect from a Tom Thibodeau coached team, the Bulls are allowing only 98.3 points per game. The Celtics have got to match the Bulls defensive intensity if they expect to win this one.
Rebound - The Celtics can't score if they don't have the ball. Rebounding will be tough against Chicago's big front line, but much of rebounding is effort and desire and so the Celtics must put out the extra effort on the boards to give themselves extra possessions as well as to limit the Bulls fast break opportunities and second chance points.
Limit Turnovers - The Celtics are averaging 16.2 turnovers per game, which is too many. They also seem to go through spurts in the game when they lose focus and have a flurry of turnovers. They have to take better care of the ball and also keep their focus better throughout the game.
Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics seem to play very well at times, sometimes starting off strong and sometimes finishing strong. They have to make an effort to play hard and keep their focus from the starting tip until the final buzzer.
Injuries on both sides could be a factor. Marcus Smart has been a big part of what the Celtics have been doing and it's not known how much his injury is going to affect the rotation, especially the Celtics defense. For the Bulls, with Derrick Rose in the lineup, they become much harder to beat.
John Goble - John Goble enters his eighth season having officiated 453 regular season games and 22 playoff games. He also officiated the 2010 NBA All-Star Rookie/Sophmore game. Prior to working in the NBA, Goble officiated 104 games
over four seasons in the NBA D-League and was selected to officiate the 2007 Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the Southeastern Conference, where he was a tournament official in 2006 and 2007, and the Sunshine State Conference.
In the past, Goble has been good in some games and terrible in others. He was the referee who called the clothesline on Barbosa in a Nets game 2 seasons ago a regular foul. He also called a foul at the end of that game on an obvious clean steal that could have changed the outcome of the game. In a Clippers game last season, he ignored fouls by the Clippers and called phantom fouls on the Celtics all game. Tommy made the comment that the Celtics had no shot to win after the officiating took over. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Goble and the Bulls are 8-2 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 3-1.
Curtis Blair - Curtis Blair is entering his eigth NBA season having officiated 322 regular season games. Blair has six seasons of NBA D-League experience and worked the 2008 NBA D-League Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast Conference and the CAA. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 1992 and played professionally in Australia, Austria and Turkey. Like most refs, Blair has been good and bad in previous Celtics games. He also called the game against the Clippers mentioned above that got Tommy riled up by the terrible officiating. The Celtics are 3-7 in their last 10 games with Blair while the Bulls are 6-4 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 2-2.
Brian Forte - Brian Forte, who is the son of retired NBA referee Joe Forte, has officiated 399 regular season games and one Playoff game in seven NBA seasons. He also officiated the 2011 NBA All-Star Rookie/Sophmore game. He worked for six seasons in the NBA D-League, officiating 126 games. During that time he worked two Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the Southern Conference, where he officiated the 2007 conference tournament final, and the Southeastern Conference, where he officiated the 2007 conference tournament. Forte also was selected to officiate the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Forte was the object of Tommy's wrath in the classic rant that follows (the T was later rescinded). The officiating in that game was bad both ways.